The Sniper is a late game hard carry who excels at annihilating his targets at vast range. His mini bash along with long range and a finisher ultimate gives him an incredible potential as a carry early to late game. However, he is very squishy and lacks escape utility along with movement speed, which makes him an attractive and easy target. Due to this fact sniper often becomes food for enemy heroes.
But we have a lot of utility items in Dota, right? Exploiting his capabilities to their maximum, boosting them properly and avoiding death is key to success . This guide will focus on one of multiple ways to reach success as a sniper.
This is a personal build with focus on outfarming and outlasting your opponents by getting lethal relatively early in the game. This is achieved by acquiring Shadow Blade very early before anyone else has any useful items. By getting Shadow Blade first you will have a perfect chance to gank and stay alive throughout the early phase of the game and outfarm your enemies by actually killing them, not just farming creeps all the time like most people do. This build has been tested dozens of times in DotA and Dota 2 and it works perfectly if executed correctly.
Your task for the first 10 minutes of the match is to farm like crazy. Last hit every single creep you can and make sure to stay alive. You will be doing this to acquire your main utility item. It is possible to achieve this within the given time lapse only in the middle of course.
Shadow Blade - This is your main gank/escape utility item. You want to get this as soon as possible, preferably before 10 minutes into the match, ideally at 9:00 minutes. Getting it early will give you a perfect opportunity to kill: you can use it offensively after a bit of harassment and then finish off your target with your ultimate ability. If you're in trouble or about to be, use it to escape. Using Shadow Blade properly will let you quickly outfarm enemy team by killing their heroes and staying alive.
You mainly need Shadow Blade to kill during the early phase of the game while everyone is fragile.
Some may say this item is unreliable as it is relatively easy to counter with dust, gem or wards. While this is true to some extent, you still have no other option for an escape item, as Blink Dagger is even less reliable, and it doesn't give you extra offensive capability. Use it wisely!
Rule number one. To execute this build and gameplay associated with it you go middle.
Early in the game your main objective is FARM. Once you have Shadow Blade and Boots of Speed your main objective changes to KILL and farm when you don't have an opportunity to kill.
Sange and Yasha - don't waste your time and gold on this, as you don't need it. This item would only take up space in your inventory - there are far better items out there. Movement speed and stats are easily compensated with Manta Style, which also gives you extra 50% damage from illusions.
Vanguard - costs a lot, gives you extra hardiness and health regeneration. Alas, you don't need this item because buying it will delay you from getting must-have items and take up space in your tight backpack.
Assault Cuirass - you don't want this item for the same reason as the ones above, plus it gives you less haste than Mjollnir and you will already have -armor from Desolator. Snipers don't need armor, they need stealth, damage and attack speed.
Mask of Madness - this item gives you attack speed and lifesteal, and at the same time makes you even more vulnerable than you already are. You don't want it because you will have enough haste with Mjollnir and you do need that Desolator attack modifier for extra lethality. Lifesteal proves to be useless for snipers as they are way too squishy to even go for health regeneration.
Helm of the Dominator and Satanic are avoided because you don't need lifesteal attack modifiers and they are expensive and take up inventory space.
Every other item not mentioned in any section of this guide is considered useless for this very build.
Pudge - you are a target #1 for him to hook and dismember. Always be aware of his and your position.
Lifestealer - this hero is pretty much everyone's counter is farmed. Don't let him farm (by killing him)!
Spirit Breaker - you are a target #1 for him as well. He will stalk you with Charge of Darkness and try to kill you with his ultimate. Watch out for him.
Tinker - this guy has a lot of burst and will surely take his chances to one shot you. Stay out of his range or let him focus on someone else first.
Bounty Hunter - this assassin has a decent burst out of stealth and can chase you with the help of his ultimate even when you're invisible. Have some wards, dust or stay at a safe distance from places where he can potentially gank you.
Riki - it's difficult to get out of his smoke cloud, and he usually has diffusal blade to make it even harder. Again have some dust/gem with you or play safe.
Anti-Mage - don't let this guy farm by killing him and try to finish the game before he gets farmed. He will blink to you and burn your mana, don't let him get close.
Thanks to Nova and Atlas for their interesting and nicely formatted guides. My formatting was inspired by them.
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